Two relief sculptures on the side of the Fulton County Public Health Department in Atlanta, Georgia.
The first is straightforward: the physician warding off death. It’s what they do, to the best of their ability.
The second image is a bit more arcane, not shared as often but equally symbolic.
With thanks to redditor /u/queenbrewer:
“This counterpart bas relief clearly depicts a woman, presumably a nurse, holding a sword. The sword depicts Hygeia , Asclepius’ daughter and the goddess of hygiene, who holds a snake drinking from a bowl, typically symbolizing pharmacy. She fights against a man (perhaps Father Time) holding the mask of tragedy representing suffering in one hand and an hourglass representing aging in the other.”
The TL;DR here seems to be a variant of what I’ve heard around the medical community: “Doctors diagnose, nurses heal.”
Beautiful tributes to all dedicated healthcare workers.
The Old Wolf has spoken.